Sunday, March 15, 2015

Racist will Remain Alive and Well Groom in Pakistan

Mumtaz Qadri
Mumtaz Qadri right

News from Pakistan: In 2011 Mumtaz Qadri (Taseer’s body guard) assassinated the Punjab Governor Salman Taseer because of the Governor’s support for Blasphemy Law reform and supporting that a pardon occur for Asia Bibi (still in jail and See HERE) convicted with a death sentence for violating the same Blasphemy Law. This important to know because Pakistan’s Islamabad High Court upheld Qadri’s conviction but threw out the part of the conviction that violated Pakistan’s section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA or 7ATA – 1997, 2014 and 2015).

Shamim Masih has a sense that throwing out the terrorist portion of the original conviction could lead to a successful appeal for Mumtaz Qadri. If Shamim is correct then that would be a travesty of justice especially since Pakistani-Christians endured yet another Muslim homicidal-suicide attack on two of their Churches on Sunday (Pakistan Time) killing 15 people.

JRH 3/15/15
Racist will Remain Alive and Well Groom in Pakistan
IHC Saved Qadri’s Skin
By Shamim Masih
Sent: 3/15/2015 1:33 AM

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on March 09, 2015 verdict on Mumtaz Qadri case upholding his conviction under section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on killing the former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. A two member bench comprising Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui dismissed the appeal. The ruling by the IHC was a surprise in two ways:

A): many had expected the killer’s sentence might be reduced amid growing threats to lawyers and judges hearing blasphemy-related cases.

B): Many believe that the IHC has saved Qadri skin while upholding the conviction of Mumtaz Qadri under section 302 and 7ATA void.

The bench had reserved the judgment on February 11 after advocate general Islamabad Mian Abdul Rauf, the prosecutor in the case, and Qadri’s counsels, including former Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Khawaja Sharif and retired Justice Mian Nazeer – concluded their arguments. I am quite surprised that when people like former Chief Justice LHC and Justice retired Mian Nazeer will remain in back of the racialist like Mumtaz Qadri, how can this society be changed. Certainly racists [are] alive and well groomed in Pakistan. I can’t say anything against Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui because he is a sitting judge. However he is reportedly the same person, who has been seen kissing and garlanding the killer of Salman Taseer. The blasphemy law has been extensively misused not only to target the minorities but also by Muslims against Muslims to settle personal scores. Even former Federal Religious Affairs Minister Ejazul Haq admitted in November 2005 that the blasphemy law was being misused and expressed the government’s desire to bring amendments to it. Hundreds of the innocent people had been imprisoned, forced to flee the country or killed by extremists under the pretext of punishing blasphemers. One known Christian Gulshan Masih from the capital was forced to flee when he was accused of blasphemy. According to the sources FIR 96/12 was registered against him because he has been supporting the Shahbaz Bhatti case, which was killed, right out of his residence in I-8 Sector in Islamabad. Bhatti was killed for supporting Asia Bibi and Salman Taseer was killed for supporting Asia Bibi as well. Sources confirm that he is now seeking asylum in some other European country, probably Denmark. Gulshan has reportedly been supporting the construction of the Church in Central Jail Adyala, Rawalpindi.

Within minutes of the verdict, a celebration was seen in IHC premises where supporters distributed sweetmeats and they shared their joy. Their happiness was shared by those who defended Mumtaz Qadri in the court. When the IHC upheld the murder cases against Qadri for killing former governor Salman Taseer, his lawyers were happy that the terrorism charges against Qadri had been dropped. Qadri was employed to provide security to Taseer, killed the latter in January 2011 in Kohsar Market, Islamabad, where hundreds of the people saved their lives hiding when shot him. He was convicted by the anti-terrorism court (ATC) in October the same year, under both section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and under section 302 of Pakistan Penal code respectively. The IHC division bench set aside his conviction under section 7 of the ATA but uphold the death sentence under 302 of the PPC. I don’t know the definition of 7ATA, but certainly it was reported that hundreds of the people have saved their lives in hiding themselves when Qadri was firing in the day light. This means that Qadri is guilty of murder but not terrorism. Some of them even made impromptu, fiery speeches and chanted slogans in favor of Taseer’s killer. I am not an expert in covering crime cases but certainly facing the same situation in the country know that the Qadri team could appeal that his trial had been an unfairly one – the trial had been carried out in the ATC although now Qadri is no longer charged with a terrorist act. Qadri’s lawyers can request the Court to retrial as the ATC cannot try ordinary murder cases. They actually played technically, if the ATA remains in the case, it may be transferred to the military Court. The future will be that the team will go to the Supreme Court to appeal that this conviction and death sentence had been upheld. I don’t know [if] the government lawyers of Salman Taseer’s family would appeal the decision or challenging the order. Legal experts also pointed out the loopholes that will work to Qadri’s advantage with this judgment. They said that the conviction under only the PPC (not the terrorism law) means that Qadri was now guilty of a compoundable offence. They pointed out the Qadri could go free if the Taseer family pardoned him or go for life imprisonment and after few years he will be free. A senior law officer of the federal government, on the condition of anonymity, predicted that there were few changes of the government going into appeal. Normally lawyers are reluctant to appear in these [cases]. I am afraid and keeping in view of the present situation can predict that the Courts will drop the ATA charges against the Shahbaz Bhatti case in one day or other.

Most of my past articles and story intimate that the only hope for religious minorities in Pakistan is for all religious faiths including the Sunni majority learn to accept each other in harmonious tolerance regardless of religious differences. AND in most cases I would agree to mutual tolerance; however the problem I have is that Islamic revered writings specifically encourages violence up to and including death to all unbelievers (define as kafir in Islam) who refuse to subject and submit their beliefs to Islamic Supremacy. On a personal level then I am not going to tolerate a religious faith that will not tolerate my faith just because I refuse to shut up about Jesus Christ being the Son of God. I have always been writing that we want to bring change not only in the constitution but also want to change the mindset. It not Islam we are against but the Islamophobia. At least the justice system should be transparent and fair so that deprived portion in the society can live without fear from [all] sides. Minorities will always live under constant fear either to be killed by extremists under the pretext of punishing blasphemers or in the Courts.

Be Blessed,
Shamim Masih

Diplomatic Correspondent, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, UN, F & S, MOST, CADD & Human Rights Activist

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Edited by John R. Houk
Text enclosed by brackets are by the Editor

© Shamim Masih

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